Search giant Google is used to hearing good news, as its phenomenal growth continued,
as it competitors such as Yahoo have shrunk.
However, Google received some bad
news yesterday when the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission
(ACCC) announced that it was taking a world-first legal action in charging
Google in a Sydney, Australia Federal Court. The ACCC accuses Google of
using deceptive business tactics, where it will sell top search spots on its
internet search engine for large fees.
It alleges that Google tries to market itself as a purely "organic"
search engine, based on traffic, but instead directs much of its traffic based
on prioritization, controlled advertising revenue.
Additionally the ACCC has another major legal accusation against Google. Online car retailer Trading Post breached the Trade Practices
Act in 2005 when it paid Google to use the names of competitor NSW car
dealerships Kloster Ford and Charlestown Toyota as hyperlinks to its own
site. These links appeared in Google's sponsored links section, and the
resulting pages bore no affiliation to the Trading Post's competitors.
Kloster Ford filed a complaint when it discovered this partnership.
Trading Post created the links with AdWords, a Google
commercial program that sets up hyperlinks.
Google Australia spokesman Rob Shilkin later responded to the claims by stating
that the company remained committed to providing relevant information to search
engine users. The case is the first case of this nature against Google to reach a Federal
Google has tried in recent years to promote itself as the voice of freedom of
information on the web through its Google Earth service, and its recently
release Google News
service, among other projects, which makes these legal allegations particularly